Skylights can add natural light, beauty, and value to your home, but many homeowners question whether they can also make their homes hotter during the summer months. At Lyons Roofing, a professional roofing contractor in Arizona that specializes in skylights, we're here to answer the question and offer solutions for reducing cooling loss through skylights.
How Skylights Can Affect Your Home's Temperature
Skylights can allow more sunlight to enter your home, which can cause an increase in temperature. This can be especially true if your skylights face a direct path to the sun. However, the extent of this impact largely depends on the skylight's type, size, orientation, and glazing.
Other factors that can affect the extent to which skylights can affect your home's temperature include:
- The climate you live in: If you live in a hot environment, like here in the southwest, skylights can make your home warmer in the summer.
- The direction your skylights face: Skylights that face south or west will let in more sunlight than skylights that face north or east. This is because the sun's rays are more direct in the southern and western sky.
- The amount of insulation in your home: If your home is well-insulated, skylights will have less of an impact on the temperature inside your home.
- The age of your skylights: Older skylights tend to be poorly insulated or to have degraded or deteriorating seals, allowing for greater cooling loss. Some older skylights may even be made with single-pane glass, allowing the sun’s heat to penetrate your home more readily.
Keep reading for more information on these factors and how you can mitigate the impact your skylights have on your home’s temperature.
Types of Skylights
Fixed skylights typically have a dome installed over them, which diffuses sunlight and prevents the concentration of intense sunlight in a single spot within the home. This helps reduce the likelihood that you will experience an increased temperature due to your skylight.
However, ventilated skylights aredesigned to be opened to increase the airflow in your home and likely will not have a dome installed over them. When it comes to skylights without domes, you will want to carefully consider their orientationas well as your glazing or tinting options if increased warmth is a concern.
Tubular skylights are specifically designed to bring more light into dark areas of your home. As such, they are more focused and let in a greater concentrated stream of sunlight, meaning a greater chance of heating up the room. That said, they are typically only used in very dark areas, and the increase in temperature you may experience will likely be minimal if you notice one at all.
The orientation of a skylight can impact the amount of sunlight it lets in. East-facing skylights let in more morning light, while west-facing skylights let in more afternoon light and, subsequently, more heat. With an understanding of skylight orientation, you can place your skylights in the area that is most beneficial to your needs without risking a dramatic increase in your home's internal temperature. Additionally, skylight shading solutions can be sought to lessen the effect of the sun's rays.
Today, most manufacturers offer skylights with a range of glazing and tinting options. Clear glass allows more sunlight, while more opaque options block some sunlight. Additionally, special coatings can be incorporated to help further reduce heat transfer and UV radiation. Speak with our skylight specialists if you are installing new skylights or replacing old ones to learn more about your options.
More solutions to reduce cooling loss through skylights in the summer:
- Install a shade or awning over your skylight: This will help to block the sun's rays and keep your home cooler. Retractable shades or blinds can also be installed inside so that you still get the benefits of increased light when you want it while protecting your skylight during the hottest part of the day.
- Get a skylight with low-emissivity (Low-E) glass: Low-e glass helps to reflect heat back out, which can help to keep your home cooler.
- Install a solar-powered skylight fan: This fan will help to circulate the air inside your home and keep it cooler.
- Replace old, damaged skylights: Old, damaged skylights tend to let in more air and heat, which can make your home hotter. This is because skylight seals and insulation degrade over time. If your skylight is approaching 15 years old, and you notice that your home is warmer around the area where it is installed, it may be time to replace it.
Don't Forget About Professional Skylight Maintenance & Inspections
Proper maintenance is essential for ensuring that your skylights are working efficiently. You can avoid excess heat caused by skylights by ensuring your skylights are properly sealed and have no leaks or cracks for the air to seep out of (this also helps protect your home from water leaks when it rains!). Maintenance can also help you improve the overall functioning of your HVAC system, including reducing heating loss in the winter.
If you have skylights, we recommend scheduling an annual roofing and skylight inspection with a roofing contractor specializing in skylight installation and maintenance, like Lyons Roofing. Our team can help you keep your skylight in good condition, thereby reducing the likelihood of cooling loss in the summer and heating loss in the winter.
Contact Lyons Roofing online to schedule an inspection now.